Thursday, July 8, 2010
On The Firing Line
The smoke is still swirling around the MISOing of PSYOP. Rather than being able to sit back and analyze it all, I find myself on the front line (so to speak) as I undertake my role as the “PSYOP” Subject Matter Expert (SME) for an exercise at a major DoD School.
This is my third performance in this role, so I’m familiar with the scenario, the nature of the students and of course the faculty involved. The past two exercises have been pretty smooth in terms of information support to the hypothetical task force. Annex H for PSYOP was developed and there was significant interaction with Public Affairs and Strategic Communications under an Information Operations (IO) aegis as the exercise evovled.
The current mission is quite a bit different. First of all I had to update the Faculty on the details of the name change and provide them with the appropriate phraseology to convey to the students. This also meant answering a lot of questions for which there are frankly no answers.
Fortunately I have a few knowledgeable resources who came to my rescue so that I could put the best face forward for MISO possible under the circumstances. Since the exercise is predicated on a natural disaster and is less than a week long, my level of response should prove adequate.
But I candidly worry for my brothers and sisters in the PSYOP/MISO (forgive me the legacy usage) community who will have to devote their precious time to explaining the rationale for the name change, divine what other changes can be expected when and otherwise tap dance until the chain of command responds with some definitive answers.
I’m not so much worried about how SWC will adjust unit names or Branch descriptions, I’m frankly worried about the big picture. Will anything other than the name change? Will DOD decide that IO is a function or an overarching branch that should include MISO, EW, PAO and CNO. In either event, what new doctrine, organization or resources will be applied to elevate the information Battlefield Operating System to the level of kinetic warfare across the spectrum of conflict?
I’m also concerned that the recently touted ‘new’ Army strategy scheduled to be published in August 2010 was created in the kinetic world with little attention to the information battlefield and in spite of the growing specter of irregular warfare and the quagmires we find ourselves in with our forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and who knows where else.
Let’s hope I’m just being a little paranoid, which is in my nature being an MI type who grew up in Brooklyn and that the powers that be have actually given the big picture some uncharacteristic deep thought.